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Templeogue hold off late Swords surge in National Cup final

Kerry star Kieran Donaghy leadTralee’s offence in their win against Leixlip in the Men’s Intermediate Club final
Tony McGee

TEMPLEOGUE and Swords served up a tasty treat in the men’s final of the weekend-long Hula Hoops National Cup finals at the Irish Basketball Arena in Tallaght as Templeogue won the honours on a 78-75 scoreline.

The winners had to fight off a tremendous effort from Swords Thunder in the closing minutes as they fought back from what seemed an impossible situation to close the gap.

Isaac Westbrooks rifled in a three-pointer from the corner to make it a one-point game with time running out but, driven on by burly MVP Michael Bonaparte, Templeogue beat off the pressure and survived to win the final by three points.

Bonaparte did miss some free-throws in the final quarter but his burly frame was a major presence under the boards.

Templeogue are now poised to land the cup and league double as they have taken a tight grip of the Premier League right from the start of the season. Ironically, their only league defeat so far was by Swords a fortnight ago. It is, of course, the cup winners’ first season in the top grade.

Team Montenotte Hotel Glanmire is undoubtedly the most successful team in Irish basketball history. They had successive Women’s Cup final wins from 2007 to 2009 and yesterday’s completion of another hat-trick, with defeat of Killester, pushes them clear of UL Huskies on the roll of honour.

They defeated their Dublin rivals by 96 points to 64, having been in control most of the way as they led 62-34 at half-time. The Killester girls fought hard but were simply outplayed and out-gunned by the Cork winners.

Killester were also architects of their own downfall as they regularly gave the ball away. Not a good idea against a form team like Glanmire which is laden with talent and experience. The silverware went where it belongs.

Glanmire is only the second team to net more than 80 points in a women’s cup final. Their captain Ainé McKenna, who hit 10 points, won the MVP Award.

Kerry football Allstar Kieran Donaghy had a big decision to make – would he lead the Kingdom attack in their opening NFL clash with Dublin on Saturday night or lead Tralee’s offence against the Lithuanian-staffed Leixlip in the Men’s Intermediate Club final. He certainly chose the right option. Tralee won the title 78-60 after being 48-32 ahead at the mid-break.

Donaghy collected the MVP Award, shot 18 points, took 26 rebounds and gave 12 assists, a great evening’s work, but he gave much credit to his team mates for the victory.

“Declan O’Sullivan did it for us when things were tight down the home stretch and I’m delighted to be a part of this victory,” said Donaghy.

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